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Every Autobot That Dies In The Live-Action Movies (& How)

May 18, 202412 Mins Read


  • Autobots in the live-action Transformers franchise face brutal deaths, adding stakes to the cinematic experience.
  • From Jazz to Optimus Prime, beloved Autobots have met their demise at the hands of Decepticons and humans.
  • Characters like Cliffjumper and Wheeljack have emotionally impactful deaths, highlighting the sacrifices made by Autobots.

There have been dozens of Autobots and Decepticons seen in live-action in The Transformers franchise — however, not all of them manage to survive, and there have been many Decepticons and Autobots alike that have died. Starting in 2007 with Michael Bay’s Transformers, the live-action movies based on the popular animated series and toy line have brought many characters from both to the big screen, including fan-favorites like Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, and Starscream.

While many Autobots appear in multiple Transformers movies, the franchise has killed many of them off. The live-action Transformers timeline is full of dead Autobots, partly because this ups the cinematic stakes, but also because the deaths of talking robots are far less likely to require the movie getting a higher age rating than if their human counterparts suffered the same fates. Looking at every Transformer that died in the movies creates a list of some of the most popular Autobots, with several fan-favorites from other mediums not lasting that long after they made their live-action debut.



All Upcoming Transformers Movies Explained

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts arrived in 2023, and that set the table for several more movies in the franchise that will arrive down the line.

12 Cliffjumper

Split In Half By Shatter And Dropkick in Bumblebee (2018)

Cliffjumper is an Autobot that only appeared in 2018’s Bumblebee. While audiences don’t spend enough time with him to get attached, his brutal early death sets the tone for the movie and shows that the Decepticons are as formidable as ever. A refugee from Cyberton along with fellow Autobots Ratchet, Wheeljack, Arcee, Brawn, and Ironhide, Cliffjumper never made it to Earth, as his pod crash-landed on one of Saturn’s moons instead.

After fleeing Cybertron, Cliffjumper is captured and tortured by the Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick, two new villains. He refuses to give up Optimus Prime’s location resulting in the pair cutting him in half down the center. It is a violent kill to start the prequel but he goes out a loyal soldier. While he wasn’t one of the most prominent Autbots in the franchise, he did suffer one of the most brutal deaths.

11 Jazz

Died Fighting Megatron In Transformers (2007)

The live-action Transformers franchise wasted no time in killing off beloved Autobot characters. Jazz was one of Optimus Prime’s closest allies and a source of light-hearted relief compared to the more serious Transformers in the Autobots. Jazz takes the form of a Pontiac Solstice and is something of a motor mouth, cracking jokes and never letting himself get down.

Jazz is the only Autobot to die in the first film, and he is honored with a military burial.

At the end of the first movie, he makes an important gesture to the Transformers human characters by staying behind to fight Megatron and delay him, so that Sam Witwicky and the rest of the Autobot’s human allies can escape. Jazz fearlessly taunts the Decepticon leader until the very end of his life, and gets a few punches in as well, before the much stronger Transformer splits him in two. Jazz is the only Autobot to die in the first film, and he is honored with a military burial.

10 Optimus Prime

Taken Out By Megatron And Decepticons In Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

Easily one of the most surprising Autobot deaths in Transformers was in 2009’s sequel to the 2007 original — this was, of course, the moment Optimus Prime died fighting Megatron in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. There was no guarantee that Transformers would end up being a seven-movie franchise when Revenge of the Fallen was released, so when Optimus Prime is killed by Megatron halfway through the film, audiences were appropriately shocked.

Being one of the most powerful Transformers, it takes multiple Decepticons and a powered-up Megatron to finally end Optimus, and the fight at the end of the film becomes all the more dire without his leadership. Of course, the death of Optimus Prime wasn’t permanent, and returned to the franchise pretty quickly, but this didn’t make his death any less impactful. As the leader of the Autobots and a staple of Transformers in any medium, Optimus Prime felt like a safe character when it came to on-screen deaths, though Revenge of the Fallen proved this wasn’t the case.

9 Arcee Sisters

Died Protecting Sam And Mikaela In Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

The Arcee Sisters — Arcee, Elita-1, and Chromia — are a trio of field commander female Transformers who transform into sports bikes when not fighting on one wheel. They work for N.E.S.T. and the US Government but disobey the politicians when the rest of N.E.S.T. decides to go to Egypt to fight the Fallen. While not the most prominent in the storyline of Revenge of the Fallen, they were among the most visually unique Autobots.

Arcee and Elita-1 die protecting Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes, and Chromia is not heard from again.

While they were certainly memorable in their appearance, the Arcee sisters didn’t last long in the live-action Transformers movies. Arcee and Elita-1 die protecting Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes, and Chromia is not heard from again. They are dutiful Autobots who are particularly compassionate for the humans of Earth, so their deaths, while sad, save Sam and allow him to resurrect Optimus.

8 Jetfire

Sacrifices Himself For Optimus Prime In Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

Among the most memorable Transformers introduced in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the aged Jetfire. Jetfire was once a Decepticon himself, serving the Fallen until he defected after seeing the carnage the Fallen was going to cause. Sam Witwicky resurrects Jetfire and convinces him to join the Autobot cause. He is an old and grumpy Transformer trying to make up for his wrongs from the past.

Jetfire wants nothing more than to make amends for once being a Decepticon, and he eventually does by giving his own life for the Autobot cause. He kills two Decepticons in the battle in Egypt and then heroically sacrifices his parts so that Optimus can gain his strength back. It is one of the few times in the franchise that a Decepticon proves they care more about something other than themselves.

7 Ironhide

Betrayed By Sentinel Prime In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (2011)

After several Autobots were killed in 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen, fans of the franchise went into the third movie, 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, knowing that there’d likely be more Autobot deaths. One of the fan favorites who lasted from the original film to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ironhide is the Autobots’ weapons specialist. He was Optimus Prime’s number two and an excellent second-in-command who was willing to stand up to his leader.

Even though he may have always been willing to fight faster than Optimus, Ironhide still devoted himself to saving humanity and the Autobots. It takes a complete act of betrayal for Ironhide to let his guard down low enough to be killed. When Sentinel Prime turns on him, it was a complete shock seeing one of the original Transformers quickly turn to rust, asking “Why?” as his final words.

6 Wheeljack

Executed By The Decepticons In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (2011)

One of the most emotional Autobot deaths in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon was Wheeljack, who’s passing was all the harder due to how close he was to Bumblebee. Also known as “Que,” Wheeljack is a scientist Autobot capable of making any type of weaponry for his fellow Transformers. Right before the Battle of Chicago, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, and a few other Autobots are captured by the Decepticons, and Wheeljack is executed.

Wheeljack’s death was particularly hard for viewers because he pleaded for mercy before he was killed by the Decepticons. It’s hard to humanize the robotic Cybertronian’s and make them emotionally relatable in the live-action Transformers movies, but the moment Wheeljack showed that he wasn’t read to die definitely managed to. It is a very affecting death, as the scientist tries to talk the Decepticons out of killing him, calling everyone “good chaps” who can work it out. But he is unceremoniously shot as Bumblebee watches in grief.

5 Sentinel Prime

Shot By Optimus Prime In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (2011)

While Sentinel Prime was an antagonist in Dark of the Moon, he also wasn’t a Decepticon, so he still counts among the dead Autobots in the live-action Transformers movies. While Sentinel Prime turns traitor in Dark of the Moon, he is one of the few non-Decepticon villains of the Transformers franchise. Sentinel betrays the Autobots, even killing Ironhide personally. He is a strong-willed leader who is willing to enslave the Earth to revive Cybertron.

As a Prime, Sentinel Prime is supposed to be one of the wisest beings among all Transformers, so his fall from grace and betrayal becomes especially loathsome.

His duplicity instantly made him a hate-worthy character, particularly because it seemed Optimus Prime looked up to him. What’s more, as a Prime, Sentinel Prime is supposed to be one of the wisest beings among all Transformers, so his fall from grace and betrayal becomes especially loathsome. With this in mind, when Optimus Prime executes Sentinel Prime with a shotgun, it’s the only cheerworthy death for an Autobot.

4 Ratchet

Attacked By Soldiers In Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014)

Ratchet is one of the few Autobots to make it to four films, having been first introduced in 2007’s Transformers and remaining a member of the team until 2014’s Age of Extinction. His death comes early in Transformers: Age of Extinction and is one of the saddest in the franchise as the medic Autobot dies confused and alone. He’s also one of the few Autobots to be killed by humans rather than by the Decepticons alone, which makes his death all the more tragic.

Forced into hiding, Ratchet is attacked by a group of soldiers he thinks are friendly, only to realize too late they are there to kill him. It is a dark and somber end for the elderly Autobot, but he dies with his head held high when he refuses to give up Optimus Prime’s location to one of the scariest characters in Transformers, Lockdown.

Shot By Cemetery Wind In Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014)

Ratchet wasn’t the only Autobot to die in 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, as Leadfoot was also a casualty of the fourth movie (although, admittedly, one who wasn’t as beloved by fans of the franchise). Leadfoot made his first appearance in Transformers: Dark of the Moon as one of the Autobots who survived Starscream’s assassination and fought in the Battle of Chicago. In Age of Extinction, he is only shown on CCTV being shot at by Cemetery Wind.

It is a very distressing death for a Transformer; he sounds exhausted, like he had been fighting for hours, and his last lines are him desperately trying to explain he is an Autobot. The worst part about Cemetery Wind is how they throw the Transformer’s trust in humanity right back at them. It’s an especially brutal death, as Leadfoot has his leg completely blown off before finally being exploded.

2 Canopy

Killed By The Transformers Reaction Force In Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Thankfully, only one Autobot dies in the fifth live-action Transformers movie, though it certainly is an emotional and memorable death. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the Transformers are a hunted species and those remaining on Earth go into hiding to survive. One, Canopy, hides in the ruins of Chicago, disguising himself as rubble. And he has made friends with a young orphan girl, his only companion.

For a while, Canopy seems to be in a relatively sustainable situation, and, thanks to his young companion, doesn’t have to deal with loneliness despite being a fugitive. Sadly, however, Canopy’s hiding spot is eventually found, and the Transformers Reaction Force kills him. Canopy’s final moments are thanking the girl for her friendship. It is an early look into how the violent methods of the military are unnecessary against the Autobots, who just want to live in peace.

1 Bumblebee

Deactivated By Scourge In Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts (2023)

Bumblebee is one of the most iconic Autobots in the live-action Transformers franchise, being the companion of Sam Witwicky in 2007’s Transformers and proving so popular that he even got his own spin-off with 2018’s Bumblebee. This is why it was so shocking in 2023’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts that Bumblebee died relatively early on in the film. Granted, while his death wasn’t permanent, it was still an incredibly surprising moment, rivalled perhaps only by the death of Optimus Prime in 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen.

The death of Bumblebee comes in Rise of the Beasts when he comes face-to-face with the antagonist Scourge. Scourge, seeking the Transwarp key, deactivated Bumblebee. His death is particularly emotional, as the other Autobots try to revive him using an inert shard of Energon in Peru, but to no avail. Luckily, Bumblebee is revived toward the end of the movie when Unicron’s energy wave powers the Energon that Bumblebee was buried with, but this doesn’t change the fact his death was one of the most shocking times an Autobot was killed in Transformers so far.

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